Wednesday, November 14, 2012


When I went to meet the baby photographer, she requested a few more items, and gave me a bunch of pictures of items she likes.  I think I understand her style, but I was so excited I got a little sidetracked with some ideas other than her requested items.  Ooops.  So this week I focused on the biggest of the three items, a multi-coloured, multi-textured stocking cap.  She didn't necessarily want green and red, but likes neutrals and browns.

First, I gathered up all the yarns I thought would work.  I was going to do the ribbing after, using the fuzzy yarn in the lower left.  That ended up not happening.  There's a couple other yarns I didn't use, but this step helps with visualizing the finished item.  I had plenty of textured yarns in the light and dark colours, but not much in the "middle" shades.  I also knew that I wanted more actual knitted texture.  How?
 I got started, on the LK150.  The SK155 would probably have worked a smidge better, but I'm still warming up to it, and since I had recently done baby hats on the LK150, I had a better idea of tension and numbers.  After starting, I went to Michaels to see if I could find a knobbly yarn.  Yes, indeed, there were many.  But they were all multi-coloured!  Bright, contrasting colours usually.  I did get Loops & Threads "Bunny Tail" in off-white.  This yarn is interesting.  It's got mini puffs along a cord.  Like they attached tiny bunny tails to a braid.  Soft!  But how to knit with it?
 I tried doing some tuck stitch for texture, but it didn't show up.  I realized quickly that the purl side was going to be the right side, and thought about turning it a few times to make ridges....but after thinking about it...nah!  The Bunny Tail had to be worked on the "public" side, so that really cemented the purl side being the public side.  What I did was knit two rows with a plainer yarn, then laid the cord part of the yarn over every fourth hook, so the puffs took up the space of three hooks.  Then I knit the row with the plain yarn.  On the first few bands, I think I then did the puffs again (but offset to the first row), but later I did another plain row to space them out a bit more.  They are a little closer together than I'd like, but you REALLY can not space them differently--you have to knit the cord part and the puffs are at regular intervals.  You can see the Bunny Tail yarn end on the left in this picture below:
 I still wanted MORE texture!  So, I knit a row with a plain yarn, then chose a very fuzzy yarn.  I manually knit little bobbles.  I manually knit three stitches, then on the next one, I knit 6 rows on the one stitch.  A little awkward as you have to pull it down (a crochet hook helps).  Then I picked up the stitch of the plain row and placed it on the latch.  This created a tiny loop that passed as bobbles in the fuzzy yarn.  Then I knit two rows with the plain yarn and repeated the bobbles, but offset.  Later, I switched to doing them with only two needles in between.  This made them closer, but the second row was more random looking instead of precisely placed in between the ones on the first row.
 Once I got it all cleaned up and sewn together, it was clear ribbing was OUT.  Would have totally spoiled the look.  Because I started with a double strand, the first few rows were thicker and were really rolling in.  So, I stitched it down inside like a hem.  Sometimes, your knitting really does talk to you.  Listen to it! 
There's also a diaper cover in that picture.  I really couldn't work the colour shading into the shape, so I used the Bunny Tail around the waist to tie it together.  And the purl side is the outside.
 Then I had to make a tassel.  Hadn't done that in a long time!  But isn't it lovely?!  One tip--I took one strand of all the different yarns I wanted to use (could have used some darker ones, there's a few but you can't see in this picture) and held them together when I wrapped.  This made sure it was more random.
 I forgot about the cord.  At first, I thought I'd make mini i-cord and braid them.  Too thick.  I needed to suck it up and face my fear of twisted cords.  I've never had them work.  I started with two 2st i-cords and twisted them together.  They sprung apart a bit, but the mohair boucle sort of made them stick.  But I was afraid they wouldn't stay that way.  I asked in a Facebook group, and was told I have to overtwist, then bring the two ends together and make it twist upon itself again.  Aah!  This made it too thick and short though.  So I re-knit it with 1 st i-cords (really, a crochet chain LOL).  One yarn is a cream fuzzy yarn, the other is a boucle that changes from cream to beige to brown, with a gold strand.  Once it twisted back on itself, the yarns really blended together and almost looks like interlocking loops.

When I started the hat, I didn't have a precise picture in mind of the end result.  That's a little challenging for me.  I knew I needed to listen to my instincts and to my yarns.  If I were to do this again, I'd try putting the Bunny Tail and the fuzzy bobbles really close together so they appear as one band, instead of stripes.  But, I still love this hat!  I'm more than willing to make similar ones, in other colours too.  For the set, $30 if I have the stash yarns, $35+ if I have to buy yarns. 

Thanks to Jennifer Bel Photography!  If you go to her Facebook page, you can see another adorable picture of this hat, in her cover photo right now (Dec 4)!

I also Freecycled 274 gr of baby yarns this week to a woman who knits for preemies!

Yarn In:  18 141gr + 85gr = 18 226 gr (and I still have 74gr of the Bunny Tail!)
Yarn Out:  274gr + 133gr (that's it?!) + 14 845 = 15 252gr
Balance:  2974gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $3.23 + $437.08 = $440.31/325 days = 1.35/day

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